Many of us are still reeling over the news of the Las Vegas shooting that happened on Sunday night, leaving 59 dead and about 200 injured. This is why one rabbi wrote a poem in protest–calling out gun violence and gun laws in the U.S–and the inability for lawmakers to actually create legislation that protects people.
Rabbi Douglas Sagal posted his poem on Facebook–which is also clearly inspired by Leonard Cohen’s song, “Who By Fire?“:
“Unetaneh Tokef for America
Today it is written, today it is sealed in the United States of America-
Who shall die, and who shall be injured
who shall be scarred for life, and who shall be left disabled;
who by full automatic fire, and who by semi auto;
who by AR, and who by AK;
who by pistol and who by revolver;
who by Ruger, and who by Smith and Wesson;
who by Sig Sauer, and who by Colt;
who by Kimber, and who by Springfield Armory;
Who by CZ, and who by Beretta;
Who by HK, and who by Glock;
But repentance, prayer and charity, will do absolutely nothing to avert the decree, nothing,
for our politicians are too frightened.”
The poem is called “Unetaneh Tokef for America,” which “references the start of the Kedusha prayer, recited daily in Hebrew by observant Jews,” as pointed out by The Forward. Currently, Sagal is the pulpit rabbi at the Reform movement-affiliated Temple Emanu-El in Westfield, New Jersey.
In many ways, this poem is a cry for help, as much as it is a rally cry for us as U.S. civilians to do something.
Others on Twitter have called for change, like Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, also a Kveller writer:
But really, let’s not politicize mass murder or take any steps to prevent further mass-murder. https://t.co/JMaC8wJ8LC
— Rav Danya Ruttenberg (@TheRaDR) October 2, 2017
— Rav Danya Ruttenberg (@TheRaDR) October 3, 2017